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‘Of Your Wanderings’
The Aeneid of Virgil, Book 1, Part 23
In the chief-binding feast
The rage of hunger appeased
The meat removed
Every guest gorged
Golden bowls with wine sparkling
Overflowing with juice of the vine
Cries of cheer resound
In halls lit with lamps all around [1]
.
Dido commanded crowned with wine
Belus’ bowl used by all the Tyrian line
[the queen voices prayer]
Jove of eternal might
We invoke with solemn rite
We provoke your heavenly right
Lord hold back the shade-haunted night
Heaven bless this auspicious hour
An alliance of Tyrian and trojan power
.
May lord Bacchus cheer
And Mother Juno bless us here
My chiefs of Tyre with vows please
Sanctify with my bowl this earthly peace
.
The wine bowl she took wine crowned
Rained libations on the ground
Raised it to her mouth with sober grace
Sipping then offered to the next in place
Bitias whom she named a thirsty soul
He so challenged embraced the bowl
And would greedily guzzle
Until the last dripped from his muzzle
.
The wine bowl passed from chief to chief
And dawned time for musical relief
Sang Iopas longhair on his golden lyre
On the lore of Atlas the titan seer
Of the lonely night wanderer [2]
Of the shadowed toils of the sun
Of the origin of men and beast
Of the origin of rains unleashed
Of the spark that brought fire
Of the stars set by an eternal sire
Of what shakes the solid earth
Of what causes sordid dearth
Of the dying suns haste to embrace Ocean
Of the length of winter nights and their slow motion
.
Tyrian shouts praise the song
Echoed by the Trojan throng
Sad Dido with talk prolonged the night
Drank draughts of love with vast delight
.
Of Priam she much inquired
Of Hector who she much admired
Of what arms dark Memnon wore
Of the band he landed on the Trojan shore
Of Diomede’s plunging steeds
And of fierce Achilles matchless deeds
.
She asked what Fate and her ill stars required
To hear the story of the war she desired
Of Her guests she begged tale
Of the Grecian plot and city’s betrayal
Of the mortal cost of so long a war
After their flight wandering and woe
After their trials on harrying seas
After their wiles on savage lees
After seven sun-kissed summers
And seven sun-shunned winters
And now a world in renewal
Beautiful in the human view
End 23
Notes
-1. The effect of the golden bowls and lamps were intended to invoke the day and the powers of heaven, earth and man together to keep back the night.
-2. The moon
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